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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 12/16/2010

Metro oversight committee may gain power

By Ann Scott Tyson

A Metro board panel on Thursday agreed to strengthen the oversight of safety at Metro through a new memorandum of understanding with the Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC).

The 14-page memorandum between Metro and TOC officials, which must be approved by the full board, expands TOC access to incident reports and investigations and sets down specific guidelines for information sharing.

It also endorses the TOC's power to suspend or cancel funding to Metro if Metro does not act to resovle a problem that could cause "death or serious harm," according to a summary of the memorandum presented to the board.

TOC chairman Matt Bassett said that by agreeing to the memorandum, Metro is sanctioning the authority of the TOC to deny Metro funding in certain situations. Earlier this fall, Maryland, Virginia and the District explicitly gave the TOC that authority, so that "their power over the budget is available via proxy to the TOC," he said.

Both the Federal Transit Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have called in recent months for beefing up the TOC's ability and authority to perform its role of overseeing safety at Metro.

For years, the watchdog worked in obscurity, with little control over the organization.

By Ann Scott Tyson  | December 16, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Does anyone have an organizational chart of who is actually in charge of Metro?

To the citizens, it looks like there is no accountability because there is no one who can be fired (unless, as the union says, you believe in slavery) and no one who can be replaced in an election.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 16, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

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